The business of wearable technology

POSTED BY Nitin Bhas
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Samsung Thought Leadership Discussion on ‘The Business of Wearable Technology’ – organised by Samsung of course – in London. The event brought together key industry representatives, analysts and journalists, and I must admit we had a very fruitful debate on the future of wearables.

The most evident discussion was surrounding how the industry as a whole now acknowledges wearable computing as the ‘next big thing’, the key hurdles for smart wearables to overcome, the evolution of fitness towards healthcare, and the challenge to manage the tremendous amount of data generated by these devices. For now, I am going to concentrate on a survey that was mentioned during the roundtable: research from Mintel has found that currently, more men are adopting wearable technology than women.

Is this true? I am unsure of how accurate these findings are but I would agree on one thing – ‘wearability’ is the most important factor for driving the adoption of wearable devices and this is going to be a major factor for adoption amongst women. As per our research, a wearable sensor has got to be something that is comfortable and stylish enough for people to want to have it on their body 24/7. While the element of fashion and design is critical, with a few exceptions, most companies do not have them in their DNA. Vendors therefore need to push the boundaries of style and comfort to make it extremely appealing to both genders – perhaps for women, something that is tailored exclusively for them – maybe a stylish pendant instead of say a wearable band and so on.

Wearable technology is at the beginning of the wearable peripheral growth curve: the success or otherwise of early projects will define the long term potential of subsequent projects. Consequently, the extent to which their success is advertised and made known will also play a role in spurring others to develop such services.